“Why don’t we go for karaoke?”
For a number of elderly men in Osaka, such a seemingly innocent offer was one that they couldn’t refuse — but later wish they had.
Prior to her arrest last month for theft, Miyoko Fujiwara, 73, had perfected a “reverse nampa” scam in which she would lure male victims out for a drink before drugging and robbing them, reports Shukan Jitsuwa (April 16).
On the night of January 14, Fujiwara invited a 66-year-old male from Ward out to a karaoke box in front of JR Tennoji Station. As the two drank together, the suspect slipped a sleeping powder inside the can of his beverage. Once he was unconscious, she then stole 30,000 yen in cash and his mobile phone.
“She has denied the charges,” a local news reporter tells the magazine, “but police are now investigating similar crimes carried out in the same area between September and November of last year.”
A DNA analysis of material on a can left inside the karaoke box from the robbery in January matched that of the suspect, who lives in nearby Higashinari Ward.
Shukan Jitsuwa wonders how a woman of such an advanced age could reel in so many men. For an answer, the magazine ventures down to the Tennoji area, which is not far from a run-down shopping arcade and Japan’s tallest skyscraper, the Abeno Harukas building.
“Since this is a rather gloomy neighborhood at night, it is difficult to get a feel for someone’s age, especially if that person is wearing a lot of makeup,” a restaurant employee says.
The alcohol that flows freely in the area also helps.
“In the eyes of an elderly drunk, one can seem young,” giggles the aforementioned employee.
Unsurprisingly, Fujiwara appears to have been motivated by financial problems. A local resident says that the suspect is well-known in the area, often seen walking around in a miniskirt and gaudy hat.
“The rent for her apartment is 40,000 yen,” says the resident, “and very often she comes up short. In such cases, she has resorted to borrowing between 10,000 and 20,000 yen per month from local merchants, and repayment of those loans is always late.”
In speculating on what lead Fujiwara to commit such crimes, the magazine says that times are hard for the area’s elderly prostitutes.
Love hotels south of downtown Osaka, including near Tennoji and Shinsekai, are especially active at night. But for many elderly ladies of the evening demand is not what it once was, a fuzoku writer says.
“It may be that (Fujiwara) decided to switch (from prostitution) to robbery through drugging,” says the writer. (A.T.)
Source: “Osaka kinjo kara no shakkin mo fumitaoshi shite ita 73-sai meibutsu rojo ga konsui goto taiho,” Shukan Jitsuwa (April 16, page 201)